I have a photograph. Preserve your memories…
The day you stop getting excited about Christmas is the day you become officially old.
So, another Christmas Day has come and gone but not the multitude of photographs taken on the day.
Glancing through social media offered a proliferation of family festivities. Presents aplenty, wide-eyed children, smiling adults, playful animals, copious quantities of food, bedecked Christmas trees and snowy outdoor scenes. You name it, and there seemed to be a photo reflecting what Christmas joy meant to that person.
With the growth of social media over the years, it’s become the norm to share those frozen moments of Christmas Day jollity, where once they would have slipped quietly into an album. Now and again to see daylight again for the purposes of reminiscence.
On the day itself, I posted on Twitter this quote from S&V Vonlanthen.
Christmas is a bridge. We need bridges as the river of time flows past. Today’s Christmas should mean creating happy hours for tomorrow and reliving those of yesterday.
It’s through the taking and sharing of photographs that many use as that bridge. This causes me to reflect that I have no photographs of Christmas festivities from the first three decades of my life. I, therefore, muse on what a snap might have captured if a camera had been around in my younger days.
Through into my teenage years, the attendees for Christmas Lunch would be my parents, maternal grandparents, and me. On occasion, my brother and/or sister might join if they had home leave. The meal would follow the traditional lines of turkey and trimmings followed by Christmas pudding.
An imagined photo of my grandfather eating this part of the meal would capture a neatly folded handkerchief beside him. What it would not see was his false teeth within. My grandfather removed those teeth to better enjoy the fruit-laden treat.
Later in the day, the camera might capture my grandfather again. This time enjoying a cigar of the size of which Churchill would be proud. And this was even though my grandfather was an ardent socialist. The cigar was his annual Christmas present to himself. For the rest of the year, it was cigarettes.
I do have photos from Christmas’ of the early ’80s onwards. They show similar scenes shared today on social media. The chaos of children opening their presents. Christmas trees that are heavily laden with ornamentation. Smiling faces from around the dinner table with before them mountains of food. There are also pet photos, usually with the said animal surrounded by wrapping paper or hiding beneath it.
Yet there’s something that makes me prefer those imagined photos. My memory is sufficient to be that bridge at Christmas.